Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys optimistic about McClain’s availability, less so about Claiborne’s

Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne might miss his third game of the season with a hamstring injury. He sat out the Miami and Carolina games.
Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne might miss his third game of the season with a hamstring injury. He sat out the Miami and Carolina games. Star-Telegram

Jason Garrett said he is “optimistic” linebacker Rolando McClain will clear concussion protocol for Saturday night’s game against the Jets. The Cowboys coach appears less certain about cornerback Morris Claiborne.

McClain, who was kicked in the head by teammate Jeff Heath last week, did not practice again Thursday. But Garrett sounds as if he expects McClain to play.

“He’s doing fine through the concussion protocol,” Garrett said. “…He’s gone through all the walkthroughs, and he feels good.”

Claiborne injured his hamstring late in Sunday’s game, playing 65 of 87 plays. He missed two games last month with a hamstring injury.

He has not practiced this week.

“It’s a challenge,” Garrett said. “Those are tricky injuries. Certainly we want our guys to practice and be able to show us something on the practice field before we put them out in the game. He’s a veteran player. He knows our system. He’s played a lot for us. So you give him more of a chance than others. But again I think it’s the nature of the injury.”

Starting safety Byron Jones would start at corner if Claiborne is unable to go. Jones, who started two games at corner for Claiborne last month, said he feels comfortable playing either position.

Safety Jeff Heath (shoulder), defensive tackle David Irving (back) and linebacker Kyle Wilber (shoulder) returned to full participation after being limited Wednesday. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (chest) was limited after missing practice Wednesday, and said he would play Saturday.

The Cowboys will release their game status report Friday.

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